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the Wanderling

According to Carlos Castaneda, if you follow the narrative in his various writings, the shaman-sorcerer he apprenticed under, Don Juan Matus, at the age of twenty came in contact with a person Castaneda termed as a master sorcerer by the name of Julian Osorio. Osorio introduced Don Juan into a lineage of sorcerers that was purported to be twenty-five generations long. Don Juan told Castaneda that Osorio had been an actor and during one of his theatrical tours he had met another master shaman, Elias Ulloa, who transmitted to Osorio the knowledge of his lineage of sorcerers and thus inturn through Osorio to Don Juan, then down in lineage to Castaneda. A problem arises because of what Castaneda says about Don Juan's teacher in his first book, THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968):

"In describing his teacher, Don Juan used the word Diablero. Later I learned diablero is a term used only by the Sonoran Indians. It refers to an evil person who practises black sorcery and is capable of transforming himself into an animal - a bird, a dog, a coyote, or any other creature."

Castaneda's first book more closely parallels what actually happened better than any of his other books and the term diablero, as used in that first book, does not aptly describe either Osorio or Ulloa --- at least as Castaneda presents them. For me, both Osorio and Ulloa have a heavy ring of fictionality about them. That is not to say they were not "real" per se' only that I suspect neither of them, or at least the two people the Osorio and Ulloa characters were actually extrapolated from, shared the level of importance or influence on the shamanistic side of things that Castaneda attributes to them --- their names, as offered to the reader by Castaneda, bouying heavily toward that suspicion. Although the name Osorio in Spanish could translate into River Bear there is an equal chance it is a play on the Spanish word osario by Castaneda. Osario means a repository or place where the bones of the dead are deposited. But, if Osorio in Spanish breaks down in English into River Bear, a similar kind of breakdown in meaning behind the word(s) can be found in the name Elias Ulloa.

Individually each of the the two names, Elias and Ulloa, taken on their own are very interesting and prophetic in themselves, but are especially so when placed together in combination. When formed in sequence into one name as Castaneda has, then applied to how the Don Juan series of books unfold, they are extremely prophetic. [1]

When it was time for the God of the Bible to take the prophet Elias up to heaven, Elias traveled with his friend Elisha to the Jordan river. Taking his mantle, he rolled it up and struck the water of the river which inturn divided, enabling both cross over on dry ground. As they continued on, a flaming chariot with flaming horses came between them and Elias was taken up to heaven in a strong Vortex like whirlwind. Elisha picked up the mantle which had fallen from his master and the spirit of Elias rested upon Elisha and he became his successor as a prophet (2 Kings 2). In one of many parallels, the same as Osorio is said to have picked up the mantle from Ulloa, thus becoming the master, Elishia picked up the mantle that had fallen from his master and became master.

It is quite clear from the above passage as well that the prophet Elias did not die, but was instead, in a rare bibical event, taken up to heaven alive in a whirlwind of fire. "With men this is impossible; but for God all things are possible." (Matt. 19, 26)

In Castaneda's sixth book, The Eagle's Gift, the shamam-successor to the lineage of both Osorio and Ulloa, Don Juan Matus, did not die, he left, said by Castaneda to have "burned from within." See Sarira.

In an explanation of the above, during an interview by Keith Thompson published in the New Age Journal, March/April 1994, Thompson queried Castaneda with the following:

"Earlier you mentioned reaching the end of the road, and now you're talking about the end of your time with don Juan. Where is he now?"

"He's gone. He disappeared."

"Without a clue?"

"Don Juan told me he was going to fulfill the sorcerer's dream of leaving this world and entering into "unimaginable dimensions." He displaced his assemblage point from its fixation in the conventional human world. We would call it combusting from the inside. It's an alternative to dying. Either they bury you six feet deep in the poor flowers or you burn. Don Juan chose burning."

Spanish friar Gabriel TÚllez (1584-1648) wrote El Burlador de Sevilla y Convidado de Piedra (The Seducer of Seville and the Guest of Stone), under the pseudonym Tirso de Molina.

The story follows Don Juan Tenorio who resists all attempts of his friends and family to bring him to his senses from a life of continued debauchery. During an attempt to seduce one Do˝a Ana, a very beautiful woman and friend of his best friend he is discovered by the woman's father, Commander of the order of Calatrava, Don Gonzalo d'Ulloa, the Commander of Ulloa. In the processs of escaping, Don Juan stabs her father to death and disappears out of the city into the night. After what he apparently considers is a safe passage of time Don Juan returns to Seville only to find he still being sought for his seductions and the death of the Commander. Unwittingly he seeks refuge in the church where the Commander is entombed. There he mockingly challenges a stone image of his victim to a banquet in the tomb. The outraged Ulloa comes to life, accepts, and then carries his murderer off to HELL. Don Juan tries in vain to break free from the Commander who holds his hand in a forever-mortal bond while Don Juan screams "I'm burning, I am roasting."


In the 1972 Psychology Today interview Seeing Castaneda by Sam Keen, Castaneda, making reference to an incident recorded his third book Journey To Ixtlan, relates he and Don Juan were out in the middle of the desert where, after having set a trap, caught a cottontail rabbit. Don Juan thought Castaneda should kill the animal because its time was up. Instead, rallying against Don Juan's request, Castaneda tried in vain to open the trap and let the rabbit go, but to no avail. Finally Castaneda stomped on the trap in an effort to open it and in the process accidentally broke the rabbit's neck. Don Juan had been trying to teach him that he must assume responsibility for being in the world. Don Juan leaned over and whispered in Castaneda's ear, "Your trap was his last battle on earth. I told you, he had no more time to roam in this marvelous desert."

As stated above, Julian Osorio's last name can, if one so choses, be translated from the Spanish into its simplest form to mean River Bear (i.e., oso = bear, rio = river) --- or, as sometimes found in Spanish, the last first, equaling Bear River. In January of 1863, almost exactly 100 years to the day before Castaneda's experience with the trap in the desert, one of the worst incidents between the U.S. military and Native Americans occurred, known as The Bear River Massacre. Hundereds upon hundreds of Native Americans, all members of the Shoshoni, were trapped then killed or wounded, including women and children in a short period of time only hours in duration.

There is a story or legend by the Shoshoni related to that seemingly god forsaken day at Bear River that tells of a twelve year old boy, Da boo zee (meaning Cottontail Rabbit), that was caught up in the bloodshed along with the rest of his tribe. Afraid for the boy's life, Da boo zee's grandmother, Que-he-gup, snuck him out among the dead and told him to lie very still, not to make a sound or even open his eyes.

The two lay side by side with the dead on the frozen ground the whole day without even the slightest move. As the day finally wore to a close Da boo zee's curiosity got the best of him and he raised his head ever so slightly to see what was going on only to discover he was looking directly down the rifle barrel of a soldier who saw that he was still alive.

The soldier raised and lowered his rifle two times while looking into Da boo zee's eyes. The soldier finally lowered the gun and walked away, perhaps weary from all the blood spilled between combatants that day.

"Your trap was his last battle on earth. I told you, he had no more time to roam in this marvelous desert."

Whether a rabbit, a young boy, or a full grown human, it always seems Death collects his due --- NEVER leaving empty handed. Sometimes though, if his hands are full or he is distracted it sometimes seems he selects to pass over his due, apparently biding his time for one, but always somewhere, exchanging what he came for, for another. Such seems the case at Oso Rio, Bear River, that day. See The Cumaean Sibyl.

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Although Ulloa and Osorio play major roles in the narratives in relation to Don Juan, NOT one bit of what Castaneda has presented to the world would have unfolded the way it did without Castaneda's positive acceptance and eventual follow through of a suggestion from one of his colleagues. That colleague, sometimes called Bill and sometimes left unnamed by Castaneda, was a fairly good amateur archaeologist whose reputation was overshadowed somewhat by a twinge of Pothunter about him. He suggested the two of them travel together during the summer of 1960 on a Road Trip throughout the desert southwest revisiting various archaeological sites he had worked in the past. That trip, thanks to Bill and the timing of it all, intitated Castaneda into the rituals and use of Sacred Datura by the Informant and cumulated in the coming together of Carlos Castaneda and Don Juan Matus at the infamous Nogales Bus Station Meeting.

Castaneda's colleague, even though it was he who had actually pointed out Don Juan in the first place, remained basically unheralded and anonymous to the core throughout Castaneda's series of books, at the most being called only Bill at one end and never identified with a last name at the other. However, there is mentioned within Castaneda lore that his colleague Bill did have a last name: Campbell --- with his full name being William Lawrence Campbell. Interestingly enough, in the same way the names Osorio and Ulloa presaged Castaneda and his works as presented above, there was ANOTHER man he was most certainly aware of with the last name Campbell. He was a heavyweight cultural anthropologist and noted author of classic mythology and the relationship of that mythology to Native American legends: Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell believed that participation in ritual could put you into a direct experience of mythic reality --- in many ways paralleling almost exactly the thoughts as presented by Castaneda of Don Juan. At the time of the meeting between Castaneda and his colleague and their early summer of 1960 road trip together, Castaneda was yet to meet Don Juan, but it is my belief that just in meeting a man under such circumstances with the last name Campbell he would have considered it nothing less than a perfect omen. See:




Over and over people ask why is it that they should accept what I have written about Castaneda as having any amount of credibility?

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For one thing I personally knew, met and interacted with Castaneda many times --- however, it was done so long before Castaneda became Castaneda. Matter of fact he was still a nobody student trying hard to obtain an AA degree from Los Angeles City College, working at Mattel Toy Company, and when I knew him, considered himself mostly as an aspiring artist rather than anything that remotely resembled an author or shaman. Secondly, and unrelated to he and I knowing each other, my uncle was the Informant that is so widely mentioned in Castaneda's works both by him and others, that introduced him to the rites and rituals of the use of the plant Sacred Datura that sent him into his initial experiences of altered states. Third, in an attempt on my part to confirm, clear up, or have them discount any number of things that have shown up or said about Castaneda and his life, things that have taken on a life of their own as fact because they have been repeated over and over so often, I interviewed, talked to, or conversed with a number of individuals that were prominent in his life --- especially so in areas that raise conflict when people read one thing about him and I write another.

Originally when I first started writing about Castaneda it was for one reason only. It had to do with help substantiating an incident in my life that revolved around what are known in Buddhism and Hindu spiritual circles under the ancient Sanskrit word Siddhis. Siddhis are supernormal perceptual states that once fully ingrained at a deep spiritual level can be utilized by a practitioner to initiate or inhibit incidents that are beyond the realm of typical everyday manifestation.

In that the incident that occurred in my life, although bordering on the edges of what is generally conceived in the west as Shamanism or possibly the occult, was actually deeply immersed on the eastern spiritual side of things.(see) To bridge the understanding between the eastern and western concepts I brought in for those who may have been so interested the legacy of one of the most well read practitioner of such crafts in the western world, Carlos Castaneda. Although highly controversial and most certainly not the fully unmitigated expert in the field, he is widely read and a known figure when mentioned, by camps both pro and con. So said, Castaneda has the highest profile in of all individuals to have claimed the ability through shamanistic rituals the ability to fly --- thus, for reasons as they related to me I used Castaneda in my works as an example. In doing so it opened a virtual Pandora's Box of never ending controversy, causing me to either ignore or substantiate what I presented. Hence, as questions were raised by me in my own writing or raised by those who read my material more pages were created to explain who, what, when, where, and why.

The following people were all major movers in the life of Carlos Castaneda, and at one time or the other I met and talked with them all, which is more than most people who write about Castaneda has ever done. And I only did so on and off over time primarily to clarify questions about Castaneda that I had read that just did not make sense. Most people who question what I have presented about Castaneda simply gather their information from the standard already in existence party line. Some of the people I've talked to in reference to Castaneda who after some discussion clarified a lot for me, after Castaneda himself of course, are people like C. Scott Littleton, Alex Apostolides, Barbara G. Myerhoff, Edward H. Spicer, Clement Meighan, who Castaneda dedicated his first book to, and Castaneda's ex-wife Margaret Runyan.

Interestingly enough, my interview with Runyan came about because before she married Castaneda, she had been engaged to another author, the cowboy and western writer, with over 100 books to his credit, Louis L'amour. It just so happened my uncle who, if you recall, was the Informant in Castaneda lore, just happened to know L'Amour. My uncle took me with him one day he went to see L'Amour. When I had a chance to meet Runyan years later I used me knowing L'Amour as the wedge to talk with her. As it was, and not many people know about it, my uncle, who was influential with Castaneda also, along with another man deeply seeped in Native American spiritual lore by the name of H. Jackson Clark, worked together funneling Native American spiritual facts to L'Amour used as a theme in two of his books that borderlined much of what Castaneda wrote about, titled The Californios and Haunted Mesa.






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A reader of my works offers the following comments:

In your webpages about Castaneda you mentioned a rather roundabout way that Castaneda could have invented the names Julian Osorio and Elias Ulloa. However, it is a possibility that they were actual people, or that he simply used actual (though uncommon) Spanish names. In my 3 years of living in Ecuador I have come across the last names of Osorio and Ulloa (both of whom were my students). These names are not common names like Ramirez or Herrera but they exist nonetheless. They are not possessed by indigenous people, who are likely to possess an indigenous last name or at least a common last name like Herrera (Smith in English), but are posessed by only a very few people of predominantly Spanish descent (people who happen to possess dark hair and light skin as a family trait.) This of course fits with Don Juan's description of his teachers, and since Spain has a long history of being the seat of learning for magic and mysticism (in spite of the inquisition), this is a plausible explanation. Also, Julian and Elias, while uncommon, are names given to men in many Spanish speaking countries (John and Peter are not the only names given to Anglos in the States after all).

Although valuable in her comments in one sense because of the insight provided about the names, the point is missed in my intention regarding Castaneda's use of the names. It is not that the names Ulloa or Osorio or their first names were made up from whole cloth by Castaneda, BUT that they were SELECTED on purpose --- from the same milieu the writer of the comments mentions --- because of their meaning and then applied to each shaman specifically. If the names of the real shamans that Castaneda's Ulloa and Osorio represent were their "real" birth names as well, it is quite the coincidence of meaning.